NHS hospital, via Istock

Renewal and repairs to five major hospitals through £20bn infrastructure investment

The UK Government has announced its unwavering commitment to the expansion and upkeep of key medical infrastructure, confirming the delivery of rebuilding five major hospitals by 2030, coming as part of the wider New Hospital Programme.

Accompanying this continued commitment to hospital maintenance is the landmark pledge to deliver a record level investment of over £20bn to spread across the UK to renew and develop further hospital infrastructure.

The five hospitals to benefit from this renewal programme are:

  • Airedale in West Yorkshire,
  • Queen Elizabeth King’s Lynn in Norfolk,
  • Hinchingbrooke in Cambridgeshire,
  • Mid Cheshire Leighton in Cheshire,
  • Frimley Park in Surrey.

These five hospitals were constructed using significant amounts of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), a lightweight type of concrete which has been used for a plethora of parts of the NHS estate, however, does have a notably limited lifespan that results in rapid deterioration.

The Government is vehemently committed to the overall eradication of RAAC from the wider NHS2 estate by 2035, with an allocation of £685 million for the immediate support to affected trusts to help keep patients and staff safe.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said:

“These five hospitals are in pressing need of repair and are being prioritised so patients and staff can benefit from major new hospital buildings, equipped with the latest technology.

“On top of this I’m strengthening our New Hospital Programme by today confirming that it is expected to represent more than £20 billion of new investment in hospital infrastructure.”

These hospitals have been identified for renewals due to the risks that they pose to patients and staff which they house, with two of the worst affected and most prioritised being a further two - West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds and James Paget Hospital in Norfolk – that have been announced prior as of the New Hospital Programme.

Whilst the government is determined to delivery these renewal and upgrades as soon as possible, the rising costs of construction materials and economic rife plaguing the UK currently has meant that up to eight construction schemes that were planned for delivery by the end of the decade, will now see completion past 2030.

The wider hopes for the Government’s manifesto delivery to build 40 new hospitals in England by 2030 appears to be on track due to the construction of three mental health hospitals will also be delivered through wider capital funding by 2030, accompanying the five RAAC hospitals.

Given that two hospitals in the New Hospital Programme have already been completed, with a further five already in construction, a total of 20 will either be underway or complete by the end of next year.

Going forward, new schemes will be considered through a rolling programme of capital investment in hospital infrastructure to secure the building of new hospitals beyond 2030.

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NHE May/June 2024

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